JOHANNESBURG – Rival captains, Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis, both scored superb centuries but in the end India coasted to a comfortable six-wicket victory with nearly five overs to spare in the opening One Day International (ODI) at Kingsmead, in Durban, on Thursday.
Du Plessis’ century (120 off 112 balls, 11 fours and two sixes) was marginally faster than Kohli’s (112 off 119 balls, 10 fours) but both innings had to be seen in the context of the match overall.
South Africa, however, only managed to score 51/4 in the 13 overs between the 15th and 28th overs. In contrast, Indian notched up a record third-wicket partnership in ODIs against South Africa of 189 off 188 balls between Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane (79 off 86 balls, five fours and two sixes).
By the time Andile Phehlukwayo claimed both their wickets the match was over as a contest.
Kohli, in making his 33rd ODI century, showed once again how good he is in pacing a successful chase, something he has done on numerous occasions for India.
All over in Durban where India have wrapped up victory by six wickets in the opening #MomentumODI. They win with 4.3 overs to spare and go 1-0 up in the six-match series. Kohli (112), Rahane (79) #SAvIND pic.twitter.com/VhTNqdGs0q— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) February 1, 2018
Earlier, Du Plessis first had to bring some stability to the South African innings before setting a target that gave the Proteas a chance. He shared in partnerships of 74 for the sixth wicket with Chris Morris and 56 for the seventh wicket with Phehlukwayo before finally perishing in the final over with four balls left to be bowled.
In the SA middle-order struggle India had two match-winners in their two wrist spinners, Yuzvendra Chahal (2/45) and Kuldeep Yadav (3/34), who both bowled their full complement of 10 overs. It was their ability to take wickets in the middle overs that proved decisive.
The Proteas will now prepare for the second match at SuperSport Park, in Centurion, on Sunday.
African News Agency